Does Home Insurance Cover Lightning Strikes?

Lightning Strikes, Insurance Responds

Lightning strikes: Are you covered?  The next time you’re home and a heavy thunderstorm rolls into Tucson, you might be wondering: “Does home insurance or renters insurance cover lightning strikes?”

Lightning strikes can cause a lot of damage from blowing out your toaster or microwave, air conditioning unit or even worse…causing a house fire.  Although heavy storms in Southern Arizona can be nerve wracking, you can relax a little knowing that if damage occurs, coverage will be provided.

In fact, insurers paid out $790 million in lightning claims last year to nearly 100,000 policyholders, according to a new analysis by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm.

Damage caused by lightning, such as house fire, is covered by your standard homeowners policy and some policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of a lightning strike.  This is true for renters insurance as well, however your renters insurance will only provide coverage to your personal belongings such as computers and televisions.  In the case of fire, a renters insurance policy will provide coverage to other contents in your home – furniture, clothing and other contents items that are owned by you personally.

As James Lynch, vice president of information services and chief actuary of the I.I.I. says:

“Not only does lightning result in deadly home fires, it can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures and the electrical foundation of a home.”

It’s due partly to the enormous increase in the number and value of consumer electronics.  Just imagine if your $1,000 iPhone is plugged in charging along with your $1,800 laptop and a power surge fries your electronics.  That’s a big hit to your wallet!  This is where insurance steps in and provides coverage to replace these items.

It’s always a good idea to check your insurance policy, or better yet, call your local insurance agent to find out if there are any limits on electronics.  Some policies limit electronics to $500 whereas other policies do not have any limit.  If your home or renters insurance policy has a limit on these items, be sure to ask your agent what the cost would be to increase the coverage so that you’re properly insured.

In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 19-25), the I.I.I. and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) encourage homeowners to install a lightning protection system in their homes. These systems are designed to protect the structure of your home and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt.

The growing market for smart home technology makes installing a lightning protection system even more important, noted the I.I.I. It is also an opportunity for designers, builders and code officials to include lightning protection systems in their plans.

Kimberly Loehr, director of communications for the LPI adds:

“Just as smart homes provide the ultimate in safety and comfort, lightning protection systems ensure that state-of-the-art home automation systems aren’t damaged by direct or nearby lightning strikes.”

If you don’t have a home or renters insurance policy, give Budget Insurance a call at (520) 882-5000 and one of our knowledgeable agents would be happy to provide a quote and answer any questions you may have.  Most renters insurance policies cost as little as $18 a month.  A small price to pay should a lightning strike occur!  Homeowners insurance policy costs vary based on the size of the home, construction type along with other rating factors.  Budget Insurance has many companies to choose from.  We will shop the market to find the best price to fit your insurance needs.

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